Arts + Public Life’s L1 Retail Store now open inside of historic first ‘L’ station

South Side entrepreneurs bring businesses to UChicago’s Arts Block in Washington Park

UChicago Arts + Public Life’s L1 Retail Store in Washington Park is now open for business with its inaugural fellows and tenants: ReformedSchool, Hemp Heals Body Shop, Solo Noir for Men and Zen Soul Apothecary.

After more than a year since Arts + Public Life (APL), an initiative of UChicago Arts, announced its L1 Creative Business Accelerator program, L1 celebrated its grand opening of its retail store at the “Back on the Block” community event on Oct. 9, which also honored the 10-year anniversary of APL.

Located at 319 E. Garfield Blvd., inside the city’s first “L” station (built in 1892) and underneath the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line elevated tracks, L1 provides both a 20-month fellowship and 700 square feet of subsidized shared brick-and-mortar retail space for three South Side entrepreneurs dedicated to scaling their creative businesses over the next two years.

The three tenants—Peter Gaona of ReformedSchool, Tiffany Joi of Hemp Heals Body Shop, and Andrea Polk of Solo Noir for Men and Zen Soul Apothecary—were selected from a pool of 55 applicants through an open call and jury review process.

L1 is the third space operated and managed by Arts + Public Life on the Arts Block, joining the Arts Incubator, opened in 2013, and Green Line Performing Arts Center, opened in 2018. The newly renovated space is furnished with custom-made millwork designed and fabricated by local master craftsman Norman Teague of Norman Teague Design Studio.

More details on each tenant:

ReformedSchool combines art, fashion and eco-friendly materials, selling unique items to wear and dress your home that highlight, history, social justice and pop culture.

Hemp Heals Body Shop provides luxurious bath and body products including CBD oil drops, pain relief salves, bath salts and whipped body butter.

Solo Noir for Men, an all-natural skincare and grooming brand for men of color, offers many multipurpose products, tools, and techniques for clear, healthy skin.

Zen Soul Apothecary offers a wide array of products and services to help create balance and Zen within the body and home, including Reiki healing, handcrafted teas, crystals, chakra alignment and more.

The L1 Retail Store is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Learn more at the store’s website.